This year’s budget may pack major new initiatives. Analysts say a strong ruling coalition and a reviving economy mean the government is likely to carry through on its promises. However, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee is unlikely to make major changes in the tax structure, though there may be new incentives to save more and to boost energy efficiency.
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The Wholesale Price Index fell 1.61% for first week of June, but this may be misleading because food prices remain high.
The government’s Gas Utilization Policy was under question after the Bombay high court ruled on Monday that Anil Ambani’s companies can buy up to 40% of all future gas reserves that belong to companies of his estranged brother Mukesh. The ruling conflicts with the government’s policy of allocating India’s gas reserves for specific needs.
The court also upheld the validity of the confidential 2005 memorandum of understanding or MoU that split the Reliance group between Anil and Mukesh.
Debt-ridden pharmaceutical company Wockhardt Ltd. divested its German subsidiary and was also trying to sell off some of its hospitals. Pfizer, the world’s largest drug maker is in talks to buy parts of the company.
Parties on both the left and right are doing some soul searching on their poor performance in this year’s general elections. The politburo of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI(M) met in Delhi on Friday to discuss what went wrong. Also on the agenda was the Bengal village of Lalgarh, which Maoist rebels had taken over. The BJP will meet on Saturday.
The government plans to create a directory of safe eating joints in Delhi before the Commonwealth Games next year. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India will evaluate outlets using a checklist, guidelines and standards. Though the directory will start with a list of small restaurants in Delhi, the government also wants to set standards for the roadside eateries throughout the country. Experts say the scale of the task is daunting but add that food hygiene remains a problem.
The new standards will be voluntary. The government says eating-places will want to follow them to bring in more customers.